Deloitte Canada strengthens grip
on Toronto mid-market

Deloitte Canada has combined with Mintz & Partners in
Toronto, creating a mid-market powerhouse in the area. The merger
has surprised Collins Barrow, the association with which Mintz was
previously affiliated, which plans to quickly fill the gap in its
coverage.

Deloitte’s managing partner and chief executive, Alan MacGibbon,
described the merged entity as the largest mid-market professional
services provider in the Greater Toronto area. Mintz & Partners
managing partner Bryan Tannenbaum explained: “The benefits for our
people and our clients by combining our mid-market expertise with
Deloitte’s dominance in the Canadian marketplace far outweigh the
costs of continuing to bang heads with Deloitte in the
mid-market.”

Mintz & Partners offers public and private company assurance
services, tax planning and compliance, financial advisory services
and strategic advice. The firm focuses on public companies, real
estate and property management, manufacturing, retail and
distribution, sports and entertainment, non-profit, and emerging
markets such as China and South Asia. The combination adds 18
partners and 130 staff members to Deloitte’s work force, as well as
annual revenues of about C$25 million ($25 million).

Lionel Goldman, chair of Collins Barrow, said the merger caught him
“somewhat off guard”. However, he added: “It should not have come
as a surprise to anyone. Collins Barrow is an organisation with
roots tracing back over 70 years. Over that history, there have
been comings and goings of significance, just like the merger of
our [former] Toronto member firm with Deloitte.”

It was Deloitte that proposed the combination. MacGibbon explained:
“Deloitte has always served the mid-market but gave this important
market segment more focus, strategically, in 2005. [We] formed
[the] private company services (PCS) to help us deliver the full
services of our firm to private companies. Part of our strategy was
to build our PCS in Toronto and we very quickly identified Mintz
& Partners as an ideal strategic alliance.”

With more than 60 years in business, Mintz has long been a proudly
independent firm but does not view the merger as a switch to the
other side. According to Tannenbaum: “We’re creating a new side
altogether – a stand-alone business unit, PCS, within the larger
Deloitte group.

“Also, Deloitte is an exceptional organisation. Like Mintz &
Partners, Deloitte has also been recognised as one of the
[Canadian Business magazine] 50 Best Companies to Work for
in Canada and among the [Globe and Mail newspaper’s] 50
Best Workplaces in Canada. Our new combined practice will be a
great place to work and the most respected workplace of its kind in
Greater Toronto. We will continue to be a family – just a much
bigger one.”

He noted that the characteristics Mintz sees in its most successful
clients – “seizing opportunities, growth orientation and an ability
to adapt to the changing environment” – apply to the new business
as well. Tannenbaum added: “To meet the demands of our clients
going forward, we need deeper and broader expertise, and more hands
to do the work. We believe that our competitive positioning
requires an enhanced, more robust business that is dedicated to
serving private companies in Greater Toronto while continuing to
serve mid-market entrepreneurial public companies.”

The new private company service division will remain at Mintz’s
location in Toronto. Tannenbaum will be Greater Toronto PCS
director of operations for financial advisory services and an
office team leader.

Minimal effect

Goldman said the merger will not have an operational impact on
Collins Barrow: “Collins Barrow is a co-operative corporation and
we operate to serve our member firms. This operating structure is
unique to Collins Barrow in Canada and is one of our main
competitive advantages.

“Having Mintz & Partners as our Toronto member firm has been a
positive experience for the organisation. However, they did not
share a unified branding approach with Collins Barrow. Going
forward, a cohesive branding strategy will emerge that would not
have been possible prior to their merger.”

In leaving Collins Barrow, Mintz has also defected from the Praxity
Global Alliance, of which Collins Barrow is a participant. Praxity
secretary general Paul Hancock said the alliance is seeking a
replacement firm in Toronto. However, he added: “Through
participating firms located in Vaughan, Waterloo and Elora, there
is sufficient coverage in this region to meet our needs in the
interim period.”

Gundi Jeffrey